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Title: Integration%20of%20Food,%20Agriculture%20and%20Nutrition

Integration of Food, Agriculture and Nutrition
  • Alice N. Pell
  • Director, Cornell International Institute for
    Food, Agriculture Development

Lecture Organization
  • Why link agriculture and nutrition?
  • Case studies of effective integration
  • What is needed for successful integration?

  • gt 800 million people suffer from protein-calorie
    malnutrition globally
  • 56 million children die annually from hunger and
    nutrition-related factors
  • Children in bottom 20 are 2.5 times more likely
    to die than those from top quintile
  • Line between under-nutrition and obesity is a
    fine one
  • Energy dense foods (fats sugars) often are less
    expensive than those with fiber and protein

Pinstrup-Andersen, P. 2006
Biophysical Links between Agriculture Nutrition
  • Soil nutrients affect nutritional content of
  • Uptake is impossible if nutrient is not present
  • Presence of some minerals affects uptake of
    others by both plants and animals (including
  • Aluminum affects phosphorus availability
  • High levels of magnesium affect calcium
    absorption in animals
  • Bioavailability of essential nutrients
  • Chemical and physical form of nutrient
  • phytate
  • Food processing
  • Physiological status of the plant or animal

Soil Degradation in sub-Saharan Africa
  • gt 54 of SSA soils are degraded
  • Nutrient mining from continuous cropping
  • Smaller farm size (from 0.53 to 0.35 hectares
    since 1970 (population growth))
  • Decreased fallow periods for soil regeneration
  • A 50 kg bag of fertilizer costs a months pay
  • 5-6 times more in W. Kenya than in Europe
  • Use 8.8 kg/year
  • Degraded soils ? ? crop yields

(Sanchez, Science, 2002, Place et al., Food
Policy, 2004)
Social Benefits of Adequate Nutrition
Martorell, 1996
Malnutrition and National Development
  • Malnutrition affects national development in 2
    ways (Khan, 1984)
  • Individual losses in productivity lead to
    reductions in national productivity
  • Increased demands on social services counter
    economic productivity gains
  • Estimates of economic losses from malnutrition
  • For human productivity, 10-15
  • For GDP, 5-10
  • For childrens disability-adjusted life years,
    20-25 (WHO, 2000)

Approaches to alleviating malnutrition
  • Pharmaceutical supplementation
  • Pills and Sprinkles (iron supplements)
  • Deliver known amount of nutrient(s) in question
  • Essential for clinical cases of malnutrition
  • Depends on coverage and cost
  • Fortification (adding Vit. D to milk)
  • Rural poor eat limited amounts of processed food
  • Reliance on home-grown or locally produced food
  • Unlikely to be processed and fortified

Approaches to Malnutrition (2)
  • Adequate diet from local foods
  • Hard to monitor
  • Variation in crop yield from year to year
  • Post-harvest losses
  • Lack of diet diversity
  • Much agricultural emphasis on cereal crops
  • Intra-household allocation
  • Who receives the most nutritious food?
  • What happens to diet quality when cash crops are

Do Food-Based Nutrition Solutions work? How?
Expensive and difficult to prove efficacy
resulting in donor skepticism, but it does work
Field-Based Case Studies
  • Animal Source Foods (Davis, UCLA, Nairobi
  • Direct intervention supports correlational data
  • Bio-fortified rice (IRRI, Cornell, Penn State)
  • Small additions of a nutrient can lead to
    improved nutritional status
  • Orange-flesh sweet potato (CIP, IFPRI, MSU, World
    Vision, Helen Keller) Low, Arimond and others)
  • Integrated approach production, education and

Role of Animal Source Foods to Improve Dietary
Quality, Growth and Development of Kenyan School
Investigators Charlotte G. Neumann UCLA Nimrod
O. Bwibo U of Nairobi Suzanne P. Murphy U of
Hawaii Lindsay H. Allen UC Davis
Background to Kenya-Embu Project
  • Previous nutrition research in Embu
  • 30 stunted.
  • Protein and amino acid intake adequate, energy
    low if drought.
  • 30-90 prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies.
  • ASF intake correlated with growth, cognitive
    performance, activity.
  • Meat milk intake very low (lt1 energy).
  • PURPOSE Intervention project to test causal
    effects of ASF on child development.

School Snacks, 2 years
  • Energy 250 kcal from githeri (maize and beans)
  • Meat 250 kcal from githeri 60-80 g beef.
  • Milk 250 kcal from githeri cup of milk.
  • No intervention (goat given after study).
  • Total energy intakes similar, and mean energy
    protein intakes were adequate in all groups.
  • Randomized, 3 schools/group, n554.

Ravens Scores and Exam Results

Ravens Test
End of semester exam results
Behavior during play
  • Compared to all other groups, the
  • Had greatest increase in time spent at high
    activity levels, and least time in low
  • Were more talkative, playful and disruptive.
  • Spent more time in leadership and taking

  • Meat supplementation improved
  • cognitive performance (Ravens, math)
  • physical activity
  • initiative and leadership behaviors
  • arm muscle mass
  • school test scores
  • Milk supplementation improved
  • linear growth of stunted children
  • Milk and meat supplementation improved
  • vitamin B-12 status

Bio-Fortified Rice
  • Research at IRRI, Los Banos, Philippines
  • 32 of Filipino women are anemic and 40 are iron
  • Women eat 500 g cooked rice/day
  • Newly developed (non-GMO) rice variety meets
    local consumer tastes and has higher iron content
    than most varieties after milling, polishing and

Haas, J.D., et al., (2005) Journal of Nutrition
Study Design
  • Two treatments high and low iron rice, 9 months
  • Random assignment, double-blind
  • Iron status assessed 3 times
  • Careful control and standardization of rice
  • Measured intake of rice and rest of diet 3 days
    every 2 weeks
  • 192 sisters from 10 convents

Estimated average requirement (EAR) for women
1.77 mg
0.36 mg
46 to 56 of RDA
44 to 46 of RDA
  • Iron from biofortified rice increased daily iron
    intake by 20 for iron-poor diets (lt50 of RDA).
  • Adding 1.77 mg/d of dietary iron from
    biofortified rice increased the of women who
    met requirements from 50 to 70.
  • Consuming biofortified rice increased plasma
    ferritin and total body iron of non-anemic women.
  • Greater ferritin response was seen in the most
    iron depleted subjects
  • Positive relationship between amount of iron from
    rice and change in body iron.
  • Further confirmation exists from an analysis of
    the absorbable dietary iron transferred to body

More than twice as much total iron in the Kenyan
meat than in the biofortified rice and meat has
higher bioavailability. Which is a better
approach? Both?

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and child
nutrition in rural Mozambique Impacts and
Jan Low International Potato Centre (CIP),
Principal Investigator Mary Arimond -
International Food Policy Research Institute
Towards Sustainable Nutrition Improvement (TSNI)
Project Implementing partners
World Vision Mozambique
Helen Keller International
Michigan State University
Southern Africa Root Crops Research Network
National Institute for Agronomic Investigation
Nutrition Division Ministry of Health
Intervention/study area characteristics
Poor sandy soils Drought/seasonal flooding Low
crop ( diet) diversity Cassava a 1 staple, rice
2 Per cap annual income 20 Agriculture
principal activity but livelihoods diversified
Livestock ownership limited to poultry ( 2/3 of
hh) Fish quite available
Zambézia Province
Poverty reflected in nutritional status and
Focus children (4-38 mo) at baseline More than
half were stunted (HAZ lt -2.0) ¼ with observable
signs of malnutrition ¼ with very low hemoglobin
(lt 7.0 g/dl) half had low serum retinol (lt
0.70 µmol/L) gt half ill in last 2 wk One in
five women underweight (BMI lt 18.5 kg/m2) Half
of the women had lost a child lt 5 yr
  • Identifying crops to affect nutrition
  • Agronomic/agricultural considerations
  • Suited to conditions
  • Timing
  • Social/economic consequences of introducing or
    promoting crop
  • Shifts in labor amount, timing, and whose
  • Shifts in control of resources w/in HH or
  • Likely to be sold or kept for home consumption?
  • Where does it fit in the diet?
  • Will it fill existing nutrient gap(s)?
  • Acceptability
  • Ease of preparation
  • What is displaced?

  • Why Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato?
  • Produced by ? of HHs but not primary staple
  • More drought-resistant than other staples
  • Vegetatively propagated plant over broad range
    of time
  • Womens crop
  • Less labor intensive
  • Cheap (vs nutrient-dense high-value crops)
  • Very high in carotenoids (breeding for higher)
  • Easily accepted by young children
  • Good source of energy
  • Easy to prepare most likely to displace cassava
  • Considered by farmers as good food security crop
  • Evidence of efficacy at reasonable level of

Van Jaarsveld et al., AJCN 2005 811080-7.
Project model 3 necessary linked pathways
Provide access to ß-carotene-rich OFSP varieties
Create demand for OFSP through knowledge
Ensure sustained adoption through market
Ag extension to improve agronomic, storage
Group education, social marketing to increase
demand and change child feeding practices
Link farmers to traders to increase income, area
under production, develop processed products
towards sustainable increases in young child
vitamin A intakes serum retinol
Pathway 1 Provide access to ß-carotene-rich
OFSP varieties
Multiplication and distribution of vines
Varietal trials with farmers groups, including
taste tests
Pathway 2Create demand (and behavior change)
through knowledge
  • Multiple channels
  • Group nutrition education sessions based on
    formative research/recipe trials
  • Community theater
  • Radio spots
  • Visible presence/advertising at local markets
  • O doce que dá saúde
  • (the sweet that gives health)

Education topics
  • Undernutrition
  • The 4 food groups
  • Importance of vitamin A
  • vitamin A-rich foods
  • Recipe trials using OFSP
  • Breastfeeding
  • Complementary feeding
  • Care during pregnancy
  • Hygiene practices
  • A series of concrete messages (give OFSP every
  • young children should eat at all three main

Pathway 3Ensure sustained adoption/use through
market development
  • Market promotion and commercialization
  • Contracted trader trained to maintain records
  • Linked via extension agents to farmers groups
  • Introduced grades and standards
  • Product development golden bread, OFSP juice

Main research question study design
  • Can a food-based, integrated agriculture-nutrition
    intervention, with OFSP as key entry point,
    lead to sustainable improvement in young child
    nutrient intake and serum retinol?
  • Quasi-experimental, prospective (longitudinal) w
  • Followed HH through 2 agricultural cycles
  • HH with young children (4-38 mo baseline)

Survey research topics and objectives
  • Topics
  • Socioeconomic demographic characteristics
  • Agricultural production, yield, labor use
  • Parents nutrition knowledge
  • Food frequency (one week food group recall)
  • HH level consumption and ind. level 24-hr dietary
  • Morbidity, anthropometry
  • Biochemical indicators Serum retinol acute
    phase proteins
  • Objectives
  • Establish baseline comparability
  • Characterize intermediate outcomes in pathway to
  • Measure impact on young child serum retinol

Intermediate outcomes in pathway to impact
Production and sale Parental nutrition
knowledge Young child feeding practices, eg.
Maintaining breastfeeding (18-23 mo) Children
having 3 meals
Frequency of OFSP consumption Intakes of energy,
vitamin A Also protein, B vitamins, vitamin C,
iron 2004 OFSP cheapest source of vitamin A in
local markets at 0.01 / 700 RAE
Intermediate outcomes Production/sale
Intervention (n498) Control (n243) P-value a
producing OFSP 2002 5 0 0.24
producing OFSP 2004 90 11 lt0.001
selling any SP 2004 30 13 lt0.001
aP-value for Pearsons X2 and Mann-Whitney U
test Intervention HHs increased plot sizes from
33 to 359 m2 in yr 2
Intermediate outcomes Child feeding
All indicators for 2004 OFSP (n498) Control (n243) P-value a
breastfed (18-23 mo) 51 26 lt 0.01
of infants 6-11.9 mo fed at 3 main mealsb 49 17 lt 0.01
who had OFSP 3 days prev wkc 55 8 lt0.001
Focus childc vitamin A intake (median, RAE) 426 56 lt0.001
aP-value for Pearsons X2 and Mann-Whitney U
test bDifferences also positive and significant
for other age groups cFocus children were 21-56
mo at last 24-hr recall
Differences in prevalence of low serum retinola
a Excludes children with elevated CRP (gt 5 mg/L),
indicating infection
How can we learn from integrated projects?
  • A specific, integrated package can produce
    results in one context and at one scale . BUT
  • In community everything that can vary will vary
  • In how many different situations do we need to
    demonstrate impact?
  • What is sufficient proof of concept in
    community settings?
  • What kinds of processes/outcomes/impacts should
    we document?
  • Background
  • Donor skepticism
  • Mixed results from weak studies in past
  • Yet strong designs are very difficult and
    expensive, and are still embedded in context

  • Low, J.W., M. Arimond, N. Osman , B. Cunguara ,
    F. Zano, D. Tschirley
  • A food-based approach introducing orange-fleshed
    sweet potatoes increased vitamin A intake and
    serum retinol concentrations among young children
    in rural Mozambique. Journal of Nutrition 2007
    137 1320-1327.
  • Ensuring supply of and creating demand for a
    biofortified crop with a visible trait Lessons
    learned from the introduction of orange-fleshed
    sweet potato in drought-prone areas of
    Mozambique. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2007
    28(2) S258-S270.
  • Seeking Sustainable Health Improvements Using
    Biofortified Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato in
    Drought-Prone Areas of Central Mozambique.
    Low-External Input and Sustainable Agriculture
    (LEISA) Magazine, forthcoming.
  • http//

Successful Nutrition-Agriculture Projects
Successful Projects
  • Dont focus on WHAT worked (specific mix of
    activities) but on WHY
  • Ex Why did OFSP work in Mozambique?
  • Appropriate crop (not primary staple, but has
    desirable agronomic characteristics)
  • Integrated theory and practice and based on
  • Strong partnerships and good leadership
  • Extension effective and adequately funded good
  • Farmer participation in all aspects of project
    (even varietal trials)
  • Communication and problem-solving

Teamwork in Potosi, Bolivia
Flexibility Essential
  • No silver bullets/one size does not fit all
  • Agriculture is context-specific with huge annual
  • Coefficient of variation of rainfall in semi-arid
    areas often approaches 100
  • Soils, rainfall, and crop pests all vary

  • Micronutrient Diets deficient in micronutrients
    impair cognitive development of children
  • Economic75 of poor Africans (lt1/day) are in
    rural areas and 80 of them earn most of their
    livelihoods from agriculture
  • Many studies show agricultural development jump
    starts economic development
  • Soil Fertility Staple monocultures deplete soil
    fertility unless fertilizer is affordable (8
    kg/year in Africa)
  • Fertilizer applied at affordable levels does not
    pay for itself
  • Cognitive, economic and environmental poverty
    traps can be addressed through agricultural
  • Crop diversity (including animals) affects diet
    adequacy and can reduce soil degradation
    increasing crop yields and incomes

Not just a pretty flower
Striga One of the biggest causes of food
insecurity in Africa